Police have reportedly arrested five women in Lagos market for child trafficking.
According to Punch, the suspects- Abike Shobowale, 72; Abiola Adeniyi, 57; Abike Amusan, 50, Sarat Quadri, 42; and Zainab Hamzat — were arrested for taking custody of children between six and 15 in violation of formal procedures.
Fourteen children were also recovered from the suspects who according to the Newspaper are traders in Oke-Arin Market, Lagos Island.
Speaking while parading the suspects on Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of FCIID, Alagbon Annex, Muritala Mani, said the suspects were arrested following intelligence reports.
The police boss who lamented that abduction and human trafficking had become regular crimes in the country, said police are making effort to reunite the children with their parents as some of them are nationals of Benin Republic while others are Nigerians.
He said, “It is in light of this, that operatives of the Anti-Human Trafficking Section of FCIID, Alagbon Annex, were on May 22, 2019 directed to Oke-Arin Market where the suspects were arrested.
“We have launched a massive investigation geared towards arresting anyone connected with this criminal syndicate. We will not rest on our oars as we strive to make our environment crime-free.”
However two of the traders Adeniyi and Shobowale reportedly broke down in tears when they were being paraded.
The women tried to hide their faces from being captured and protested that they didn’t commit any crime.
One of the women, Adeniyi from whom two kids were rescued told Punch that the kids were brought to her by one Baba Sunday in February 29, from Cotonou.
While insisting she’s not a criminal, Adeniyi who sells wine in the market said she had planned to enroll the two boys in her custody at a primary school.
“In February, there was a man called Baba Sunday from Cotonou. I have known him for five years. He comes to buy goods in Lagos. He brought these kids to me. He claimed they are his biological children and he wanted them to learn a trade or go to school. He did not collect one naira from me.
“I took them to a school in Oke-Arin, but the school did not admit them because they could not speak English or Yoruba. I started teaching them and they now understand simple English. I went to school so I know my rights.
“On Tuesday, I was at my shop when two policemen came and arrested me. They said there was a petition against me. I followed them. They locked us up in a cell. My children were here to take my bail, but they (police) refused. It was on Wednesday they released us on bail and told us to come back, only to get here and see people filming us. This is unfair. I am not a criminal.” the two boys at a primary school.
Asked whether the children have valid travel documents and if she did formal documentation before taking them in, Adeniyi said she was not aware of those procedures until her arrest, Punch reports.